“What’s that, in the mirror, or the corner of your eye? What’s that footstep following, but never passing by? Perhaps they’re all just waiting, perhaps we’ll be all dead. Out they’ll come a slithering, from underneath the bed!”
After many cases of curious episodes, truly, “Listen” was the episode many were waiting for this season. Equal parts mystery, horror, and “timey-wimey” travel, we dealt with one of the questions that almost every person has asked in their lives: “Are we ever alone?” Or as the Doctor put at the beginning of the episode, “do we have a shadowy companion with us?”
“Listen” was very much an introspection about the Doctor himself, something I’ve been wanting since this new regeneration arrived. Right off the bat we learned what the Doctor does when he’s not with Clara or saving someone, he’s thinking, and unraveling the mysteries of the universe. I loved this opening scene, as we see the Doctor show the brilliance and madness that the character is known to have. Unlike last episode where I noted that any of the previous three Doctors’ would’ve been fine dealing with Robin Hood, I honestly don’t think any of them could’ve pulled this episode off. Not that they couldn’t have tried, or put their own spin on things, but Capaldi just drilled the episode from start to finish. Showing off various emotions, and showcasing just what makes the Doctor so interesting a character.
Seeing his determination, hearing him whisper, say, and even shout, “I have to know!” made you wonder just what was under the bed. And going through the episode, you would be hard pressed not to wonder if every person on Earth literally had the dream they had mentioned, or fearing what was under the bed. I’ll admit it…I’ve had that dream, that fear, that sense that something was in my room late at night.
What might be lost in the story, or even the visuals, is the sounds of “Listen”. The creaks, the groans, the knocks, the whispers, all lending to an atmosphere of mystery, to wondering what really was there…if anything at all. Stephen Moffat and his crew really worked hard to put these thoughts in your head as you watched, and I feel compelled to compliment them on doing so.
Now, onto the other story. Clara once again took center stage and her new “relationship” with Danny Pink took this episode to places you might not believe. Past, present, and future collided in a mix of awe, wonder, horror, and jaw-dropping clues as to what might be happening next.
No doubt though, the biggest stunner was the end scene. Where…
*SPOILERS! SPOILERS! EXTERMINATE! SPOILERS!!!
Clara went to Gallifrey (not sure how she got there…) and all but set in stone the future actions of the Doctor. From him being brave, to having companions, to not using a gun, and on, and on. Even the location itself was shown to be the barn in Day of the Doctor (hello again John Hurt!!!!), showing that no detail goes unnoticed by Moffat.
She didn’t just affect the Doctor’s life though, as we saw her affect Danny’s life, and how it might affect hers later on down the line…
Now in truth, a lot of the time travel, and the life altering did affect a lot of mythology both known and unknown. And seeing Clara almost pull a Rose Tyler (you know if you saw the episode) and wreck things almost put me off. Also, when the “reveal” happens, it does indeed leave you with some questions.
“Where did the ‘Listen’ on the chalkboard come from?” Some fans have noted that the good Doctor has been writing in chalk in every episode. And unlike what he believes, there has been times he’s done something and forgot it…
And of course there’s “what did he see after he opened the door?” I honestly don’t know, but it’s clearly something that might be picked up later on.
Finally, “if this all ‘wasn’t real’, how do we explain everyone having the same nightmare?” A good question, and one I again don’t have an answer to. Maybe if you…listen…you’ll find the answer among the theories out there…
In the end, “Listen” was a trippy, mysterious, and rather epic episode. You may love what this episode did, or you might hate it, all emotions are welcome when it comes to a show like this. Regardless of how you felt though, this episode truly was a highlight of the season, and I think it’ll be hard to top this one.